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Have your say: Tourism Strategy for Goondiwindi region

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Have your say: Tourism Strategy for Goondiwindi region

Residents and businesses in the Goondiwindi region will have their chance to direct how their Council will support the region’s tourism industry over the next four years.

Tourism is a growing industry for the Goondiwindi region. Nearly 200,000 people visited in 2017-18, generating a total visitor economy of $71 million for the region.

Capitalising on this growing market opportunity will be a priority for Goondiwindi Regional Council, who will soon consult with community members to develop its new Visitor Economy (Tourism) Strategy 2020-2024. As well as face-to-face meetings with key stakeholders from industry and government, Council has also made available an online questionnaire for members of the public to have their say.

The focus of the consultation will be on tourism businesses, visitor information services, events and festivals, marketing and promotions. In addition, Council also hopes to identify several potential ‘catalyst projects’ for the Goondiwindi region: these will be key projects from the private sector that Council will support to attract third party investment.

Mayor Graeme Scheu said Council’s role in the region’s tourism industry is to ensure the necessary infrastructure, such as facilities for events, is in place and to facilitate potential tourism opportunities through promotion and maintenance of the towns across the region. But the ‘product’ itself – the visitor attractions – are dependent upon the private sector. Identifying the sector’s potential ‘catalyst projects’ would help to determine how Council and the private sector can best work together in the future, the Mayor said.

“Council has placed a significant investment into the region’s tourism sector over the years,” Cr Scheu said. “The visitor information centres in Goondiwindi and Inglewood for example are often the first port of call for visitors. Council also funds many tourism attractions across the region and has led significant recent investment in improving Goondiwindi Customs House, Coolmunda Dam and the Texas Rabbit Works,” he said.

“This Council has also given strong support to public art across the region, and we can see already that we’re beginning to make a name for ourselves as a destination for the arts.”

In 2018, Council invested in a Tourism Branding Strategy and began a campaign to brand the Goondiwindi region as ‘Regional Australia at its best.’ The campaign included promotional brochures and a suite of videos that showcased businesses and tourism destinations around the region. Council also produced an investment prospectus for the region, in line with the new brand, which highlighted potential tourism opportunities to prospective investors.

Mayor Graeme Scheu said the Goondiwindi region was fortunate to have an existing community in the private sector that was passionate about marketing the region as a premier visitor destination. He said the consultation with these stakeholders and community members would be an important part of Council’s Strategy development process.

“We’re incredibly lucky as a region to have so many community groups, businesses and individuals making very positive impacts on our tourism industry and really making a name for the Goondiwindi region as a destination,” Cr Scheu said.

“The last few years in particular have really seen a boost in the region’s marketability as a tourism destination. We’ve had a number of big events and local tourism initiatives that are really cementing our place in the visitor economy and living up to our brand of ‘Regional Australia at its best’.”

Cr Scheu said the consultation would determine the outcome of Council’s investment so far and also identify any new or emerging opportunities within the region.

“One thing the data tells us is that our region’s tourism market is not just your average holidaymaker or caravanner. Research shows that the majority of the region’s visitors come here either to visit friends and family, or specifically to attend one of the many events in the region,” Cr Scheu explained.

“About 30% of visitors come to the region for business – and those business visitors spend a significant amount on food and accommodation. So it’s important that we really sharpen our thinking about these target markets and how, as a Council, we’re going to support the region’s tourism sector.”

Council will begin consultation with industry leaders and other organisations this week.

Published: November 11th 2019